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Sandra Passchier

Professor, Earth and Environmental Studies

Center for Environmental & Life Sciences 324
MS, University of Amsterdam
PhD, Ohio State University
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- details under Research Projects; see links area for information on lab activities and students.

Dr. Passchier is a Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Studies. She has investigated climate archives in sediments near polar ice sheets since 1992 in collaborative research efforts involving expeditions to the Arctic and the Antarctic, including six international scientific drilling campaigns (CRP, ANDRILL and IODP). In the sedimentology lab at Montclair State University, Dr. Passchier has hosted undergraduate, M.S. and Ph.D. students, as well as post-doctoral fellows from the United States, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands within the framework of ANDRILL and IODP post-cruise research. Her teaching assignments include Sedimentology & Stratigraphy, Advanced Marine Geology, Glacial Deposits and a variety of introductory courses in Earth and Environmental Sciences.

Selected Recent Publications (see CV for full publication list, *MSU graduate thesis advisees, **undergraduate independent study advisees):

*Kelly, A.L., Passchier, S., 2018. A sub-millennial sediment record of ice-stream retreat and meltwater storage in the Baltic Ice Lake during the Bølling-Allerød interstadial. Quaternary Science Reviews.

Valletta, R.D., Willenbring, J.K., Passchier, S., Elmi, C., 2018. 10Be/9Be ratios reflect Antarctic Ice Sheet freshwater discharge during Pliocene warming. Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology.

Colleoni, F., De Santis, L., Siddoway, C.S., Bergamasco, A., Golledge, N.R., Lohmann, G., Passchier, S. and Siegert, M.J., 2018. Spatio-temporal variability of processes across Antarctic ice-bed–ocean interfaces. Nature Communications. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-04583-0

Passchier, S., *Ciarletta, D., **Henao, V, **Sekkas, V., 2018. Sedimentary processes and facies on a high-latitude passive continental margin, Wilkes Land, East Antarctica. Geological Society of London, Special Publication, v. 475, doi:10.1144/SP475.3

Sangiorgi, F., Bijl, P., Passchier, S., Salzmann, U., Schouten, S., McKay, R., Cody, R., Pross, J., van de Flierdt, T., Bohaty, S., Levy, R., Williams, T., Escutia, C., and Brinkhuis, H., 2018. A warm Southern Ocean and retreated Wilkes Land ice sheet (East Antarctica) during the mid-Miocene. Nature Communications, doi:10.1038/s41467-017-02609-7.

Passchier, S., *Ciarletta, D., **Miriagos, T., Bijl, P., Bohaty, S., 2017. An Antarctic stratigraphic record of step-wise ice growth through the Eocene-Oligocene Transition. Geological Society of America Bulletin, Vol. 129, doi: 10.1130/B31482.1.

*Hansen, M.A. and Passchier, S., 2017. Oceanic circulation changes during early Pliocene marine ice-sheet instability in Wilkes Land, East Antarctica. Geo-Mar Lett., doi:10.1007/s00367-016-0489-8

*Hansen, M. A., Passchier, S. Khim, B.-K., Song, B., and Williams, T., 2015. Threshold behavior of a marine-based sector of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet in response to early Pliocene ocean warming, Paleoceanography, 30, doi:10.1002/2014PA002704.

**Orejola, N., Passchier, S., and IODP Expedition 318 Scientists, 2014. Sedimentology of lower Pliocene to Upper Pleistocene diamictons from IODP Site U1358, Wilkes Land margin, and implications for East Antarctic Ice Sheet dynamics. Antarctic Science, doi:10.1017/S0954102013000527.

Passchier, S., Bohaty, S.M., Jiménez-Espejo, F., Pross, J., Röhl, U., van de Flierdt, T., Escutia, C., Brinkhuis, H., 2013. Early Eocene – to – middle Miocene cooling and aridification of East Antarctica. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 14 (5), 1399-1410, doi:10.1002/ggge.20106. (Research Highlight in Nature Geoscience, June 2013).

Stocchi, P., Escutia, C., Houben, A.J.P., Vermeersen, B.L.A., Bijl, P.K., Brinkhuis, H., DeConto, R.M., Galeotti, S., Passchier, S., Pollard, D., and IODP Expedition 318 scientists, 2013. Relative sea level rise around East Antarctica during Oligocene glaciation. Nature Geoscience, online April 21, doi:10.1038/ngeo1783.

Houben, A.J.P., Bijl, P.K., Pross, J., Bohaty, S.M., Passchier, S., Stickley, C.E., Röhl, U., Sugisaki, S., Tauxe, T., van de Flierdt, T., Olney, M., Sangiorgi, F., Sluijs, A., Escutia, C., Brinkhuis, H., and the Expedition 318 Scientists, 2013. Reorganization of Southern Ocean plankton ecosystem at the onset of Antarctic glaciation. Science, 340, no. 6130, p. 341-344, doi: 10.1126/science.1223646


Sedimentary Geology; Ocean Drilling; Paleoclimatology; Continental Margins; Polar Science; Glacial Processes; Seafloor Processes. I run the Sedimentology Laboratory, now located in CELS 305G and 321A.



Research Projects

New project - Timing and Spatial Distribution of Antarctic Ice Sheet Growth and Sea-ice Formation across the Eocene-Oligocene Transition

The melt of land based ice is raising global sea levels with at present only minor contributions from polar ice sheets. However, the future role of polar ice sheets in climate change is one of the most critical uncertainties in predictions of sea level rise around the globe. The respective roles of oceanic and atmospheric greenhouse forcing on ice sheets are poorly addressed with recent measurements of polar climatology, because of the extreme rise in greenhouse forcing the earth is experiencing at this time. Data on the evolution of the West Antarctic ice sheet is particularly sparse. To address the data gap, we will reconstruct the timing and spatial distribution of Antarctic ice growth through the last greenhouse to icehouse climate transition around 37 to 33 Ma. We will collect sedimentological and geochemical data on core samples from a high-latitude paleoarchive to trace the shutdown of the chemical weathering system, the onset of glacial erosion, ice rafting, and sea ice development, as East and West Antarctic ice sheets coalesced in the Weddell Sea sector and beyond. Our findings will lead to profound increases in the understanding of the role of greenhouse forcing in ice sheet development and its effect on the global climate system.

Undergraduate lab assistants use multiple lab methods, including major instruments. Completion of a chemistry or earth science lab course required. These positions are for sophomores and juniors.

The graduate assistant is expected to participate in sampling at the IODP Gulf Coast Repository in College Station, TX, and carry out lab analyses on detrital sediments at Montclair State University with a small proportion of the work to be carried out at nearby Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University. We are seeking prospective graduate students with a background in sedimentology, glacial geology, marine geology or geochemistry with secondary interests in climate policy, environmental law, science communication or education. Opportunities exist for involvement in research related to upcoming Antarctic IODP expeditions, e.g., Exp. 379 Amundsen Sea. The graduate assistant is expected to be enrolled in the M.S. Earth and Environmental Science, or the Ph.D. program in Environmental management – as part of the Earth Systems and Climate Change research cluster, with faculty expertise in sedimentology, marine geology, rock magnetism, isotope geochemistry, paleoclimatology, climate and coastal modeling. The university recently strengthened its commitment to Earth Systems and Climate Change research and teaching with the hire of a new assistant professor in Paleoclimatology, Dr. Ying Cui (not yet listed on the website

For more information on how to apply for the graduate assistantship please contact Dr. Sandra Passchier via email <> prior to October 15, 2018. Students need to be accepted into a graduate program at Montclair State University to be eligible for the assistantship. The application deadline for the Ph.D. program is October 15, 2018 for a January 1, 2019 start date and the application deadline is January 15, 2019 for a September 1, 2019 start date. . The M.S. Earth and Environmental Science program has rolling admissions. Candidates will be considered until the position is filled.